Subject-Based Learning

Image by F1 Digitals from Pixabay

We describe the current arrangements in England for teaching 5- to 11-year-old children as a ‘subject-based’ approach. The National Curriculum in England organises learning through individual subjects like mathematics and science.

Many countries around the world organise learning in this way.

There are currently twelve subjects through which learning is organised for young children in England: English, mathematics, geography, history, science, design technology, art and design, music, a modern foreign language (MFL), computing, physical education.

In addition, PSHE covers personal, social, health, economic, environmental and citizenship education under three core themes:

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Relationships
  • Living in the wider world

Not fit for purpose

Unfortunately, the current subject-based arrangements for learning fall far short of what is required in terms of preparing children for the personal, social and environmental challenges facing them in adulthood.

NB The shortfall is not about PSHE content, which is excellent. It is about the arrangement of content as a number of subjects to be taught.


What are the personal, social and environmental challenges that children should be learning about?